The history of the Rolex Air-King is one of daring and courage. It is the longest continuously manufactured watches made by Rolex. Originally called the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, it was used during WWII by RAF fighter pilots who relied on the easy visibility of its large, 34 mm dial and clearly marked numerals while flying their dangerous missions. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, so admired the brave British pilots who were wearing this watch that he decided to re-name it the Air-King in their honor. It was released in 1945, joining the Air-Lion, Air-Giant, and Air-Tiger, all created to commemorate the RAF pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain. The Air-King is the last of the “Air” watches still in production.
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Though often considered an “entry-level” choice in the Rolex line-up because of it modest price tag, the Air-King nevertheless does not skimp on quality. It incorporates all the classic lines, advanced technology and high quality craftsmanship that are synonymous with the Rolex name. Ironically, now considered small at 34 mm, its robust yet streamlined construction makes it a hugely popular choice to this day for both men and women. It features Rolex’s legendary in-house manufactured 3130 oyster perpetual, self-winding movement, designed to harness the energy of natural wrist movements to provide a reliable source of power. If moved at least once every 48 hours, the Air-King will continue to run without needing to be wound. The movement is housed in a 904L waterproof case with twin-lock screw crown. The Air-King is COSC certified and water resistant up to 100 meters (300 feet). Wearable and simple – the Rolex Air-King is a timeless classic, battle tough and practical to the end. Pre-owned Air-Kings are much sought after, and are often seen with colorful after-market dials.
The current (MSRP) retail price for a Rolex Air-King is $5,050 with the smooth bezel (model reference # 114200) and $6200 with a white gold bezel (model reference #114234).
The Rolex Air-King is available in a wide variety of dial colors and bezels including, silver, white, black, blue – and the original salmon color. Stainless steel is the most popular metal used for this watch, however it is also available in white gold or gold plated. You will often see a Rolex Air-King with a colorful new dial, replacing the original one. Although attractive, this may lessen its re-sale value.
The Rolex Air-King is often nicknamed the “Warrior Watch” because of its history in battle. The standard Rolex Air-King has no date aperture.
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